DWF launches BAME Access Scheme in partnership with Aspiring Solicitors

by Yusuf Odabashy

 

A new work placement initiative, scheduled to begin in April 2021, has been launched by DWF. The work placement is specifically aimed towards Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals who are seeking a career in the legal industry. The work placement has been developed in partnership with Aspiring Solicitors and will pay successful applicants between £250-275 (location dependent) over a week during their work placement.

DWF is an international law firm with 31 offices across the globe in locations such as both North and South America, South-East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. With a diverse range of practice areas, spanning from commercial law, Banking and Finance to Employment Law, the firm has represented a diverse range of clients such as Adidas, Uber, Pepsi and other FTSE-100 listed companies.

Seema Bains, Head of DWF’s diversity and inclusion group said, “The Scheme has been developed to help increase the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the legal sector.” She further added that the Scheme was also created as “Our sector (legal) does not reflect the society we live in, and that really needs to change.” These comments address the low numbers of BAME individuals currently employed in the legal profession. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published its findings in 2018 on diversity, finding that just 21% of those employed in the legal profession are from the BAME background.

Furthermore, the CEO and founder of Aspiring Solicitors, Chris White, stated: “The Scheme demonstrates a tangible commitment and focus for improving access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in the profession.”

The Access Scheme is the latest in several steps that DWF has undertaken in recent years to improve the levels of diversity and minority representation in the legal profession. For example, in 2017, they launched the Rare Contextual Scheme which aims to assess applicant’s achievements in the context they were gained and ensures that they were recruiting individuals from all backgrounds.

In 2020, DWF also scrapped A-level requirements in the wake of the cancellation of A-level examinations, which awarded grades using a system that was dubbed by students at the time “the postcode lottery”. Had it not been reversed by the government, it could have severely and negatively affected career opportunities for thousands of students.

We reached out to DWF for further comments on the scheme and to obtain information about the application process, eligibility, location and when the intake will begin. We were provided with the link below which addresses all these questions for anyone interested.

DWF Ethnic Minority Access Scheme 2020/21

This article is intended for guidance only and must not be relied upon for specific advice.


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